Sabah primary school to represent Malaysia in Dance World Cup

The victorious Ngalay Yang’s Team from Sekolah Kebangsaan Luyang Kota Kinabalu.

KOTA KINABALU: Caelen Lester Mojiliu was unsure about joining the dance group in his school, SK Luyang Kota Kinabalu.

But the group was short on dancers as it prepared for some big competitions last year and this year.

The 13-year-old who describes himself as an introvert decided to give it a shot as he loved dance, particularly traditional dance.

It turned to be one the best decisions of his young life when the team notched first place in the Dance World Cup Qualifiers at the National Culture and Arts (JKKN) Complex here on Thursday (March 16).

His group, the Ngalay Yang's Team, came out in top beating four other schools in the Children Small Group National and Folklore Dance category.

Caelen (middle) with his proud parents Lester (left) and Lindsay.Caelen (middle) with his proud parents Lester (left) and Lindsay.

They will now represent Malaysia on the world stage, competing in the same category at the international Dance World Cup in Braga, Portugal from June 30 to July 4.

"Luckily, I listened to my parents and hopefully I get to go to Europe to compete as well as learn about other cultures," said the Year 6 pupil, beaming with excitement.

His proud parents Lester Dominic Mojiliu and Lindsay Cindy Ligadu were thrilled that their eldest son got to be part of something significant, with potentially bigger achievements awaiting at the global level.

Lester said the team has to raise quite a sum to cover travel and other costs to take part in the tournament.

"This opportunity does not come all the time and it would be disappointing for these young people if they do not get to go to Portugal.

"We will try our best to help the school raise the funds needed and hopefully others will, too. These children deserve the exposure," he said.

Other dancers in the group are Edric Elden Masaba Formon, Putra Aiden Abdullah, Mohammad Ashraf Anuar, Fieyeancy Angel Onievea Junip, Shanellda Jade Nurin, Nur Adeera Hasya Mohd Amir, Ezra Ejhez Ezwan Shah and Dhia Zahra Maisar Asmei.

The dancers posing for a photo with teachers and parents after winning the Children Small Group National and Folklore Dance category in the Dance World Cup Qualifiers on Thursday (March 16).The dancers posing for a photo with teachers and parents after winning the Children Small Group National and Folklore Dance category in the Dance World Cup Qualifiers on Thursday (March 16).

Noohayati Awang, the group's teacher-manager, said the team prepared long and hard for this event, and had trained since August.

Along the way, she said, the group of Year 4 to 6 pupils also took part in local competitions including an open dance tournament at the Duang Festival last month where they competed against adults.

"We got third place in that tournament," she said, and this gave them the impetus and confidence to try out for the Dance World Cup qualifiers, a national-level event only open to schools.

"We were confident but never expected to win the qualifiers because the schools in that category were all top teams," she added.

Noorhayati said they performed the Limbai Bajau Sama dance, a creative rendition of the traditional dance of the Bajau Sama ethnic group from northern Kota Belud district.

"The beauty of our group is that our dancers are of various ethnic groups – we have a mix of Malays, Chinese, Dusun and Rungus among others.

"We learned each other's dances and culture," she said, adding that they hoped to make the country proud at the global competition.

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